Without being a stereotype per se, the famous “May 5th” is loud and internationally linked to a Mexican celebration, but… what is supposed to be celebrated?
I’ll be short: the battle where Mexico defeated France. That’s all. In the second french intervention in Mexico (yes, they were two major french interventions in Mexico) in the middle of the XIX century, France invaded Mexico to annex it as a satellite state of France. The invasion started in Veracruz and headed to Mexico City, but in the middle of the way (in Puebla) the french army was slammed on the brakes and defeated by a totally underrated Mexican army.
The story behind the Battle of Puebla is full of interesting facts and stories that would make you understand the Mexican nationalist sense. And reading it deeper could make you see a clear origin for the national pride represented in the Victory of the Mexican army on May the 5th of 1862.
It is NOT the most important celebration for Mexicans, as many people believe. Chicanos celebrate it strongly in the United States, but it is not the same situation in Mexico. We, mexicans, have more important dates like “the beginning of the war of independence” on September 15th and 16th. That is the biggest celebration of Mexico.
I don’t really know where exactly comes from that the chicanos took May the 5th as a major celebration of Mexico, but I’m gonna allow myself to write down a theory I have. The battle represents the story of the underdog that took the risk, gave himself for his dreams and in the end defeated the titan, as a true David and Goliath analogy. That was the Mexican-french situation.
Even though there were many battles in Mexican land during the french intervention, the battle of Puebla summarizes a conflict having peasants against professional soldiers, simple Zaragoza against arrogant Lorencez, Benito Juárez against Napoleon III, reformists against bigots, national identity against invading imperialism, the forgotten Mexican army against the mighty superior French army. And Mexicans won.
It is the real story of a group of simple Mexicans with no military experience defending their land, identities, people and heritage, from an invading greedy monster. It is the real story of the undervalued people, who took their destiny within their own hands and showed the world that they are as powerful and valuable as the best ones in the planet. Even better.
It’s then, maybe, an important symbol for the chicano community, where the Mexican blood tints red the same way as the European blood, giving reason to the passionate lovers of justice and equality.
I recommend you to read more about it and discover the amazing and interesting facts surrounding it.
Now, a movie of the battle is about to be premiered and seems very full of action and suspense. A typical high-production film, but with the pure trailer I can spot some historical inaccuracies in it. Doesn’t matter. It will put the story out there and I hope you can have a glimpse of the story, even if you don’t watch the movie.
“Cinco de Mayo: la batalla”
Interesting fact: There’s another film called “Cinco de Mayo” that is also about to be released soon in the US. It is nothing more than a horror film, where the wall in the border between Mexico and US is now the plot center of a zombie invasion. Many thoughts arose my head. Comments about it are welcome.
“Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria“